Friday, December 14, 2012

Car Insurance Driving You Mad? How to Reduce Your Premiums

A car crash on Jagtvej in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A car crash on Jagtvej in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Insurance unlike satellite navigation and alloy wheels isn't something that’s an optional extra; it’s a legal requirement for anyone driving on the roads, whether you’re on a motorbike, driving a commercial vehicle or your own family car. However, as we’re all well aware, the prices of annual insurance can be rather substantial – actually pricing a lot of people off the roads in recent years, forcing them to sell their cars because they just can’t afford to drive them.

Cars are a lot of people’s pride and joy, giving them the freedom to come and go as they please, and to go to places that they wouldn't have access to if they couldn't drive, but when insurance companies price them off the roads it can be somewhat soul destroying. Take new drivers as an example, there is always a risk that they’ll be involved in accidents while learning or in the early stages after passing their test and therefore insurers are skeptical of insuring them for fear of regular payouts and the price goes up and up. But short of a miracle, what can you do about it? The easy answer is ‘nothing’, but the easiest answer isn't always the right one.

Here are just three top tips for reducing your car insurance and making payment simpler, without having to sell off your body parts! Obviously there are far more than three methods, so feel free to add your own:

Security. All cars come fitted with locks, this much is obvious, but the more safety features you have fitted, the more favorably the insurers will look upon you and your vehicle. For example, if you have a steering wheel lock and immobilizer fitted as standard – along with an alarm – you’re much more likely to be paying less than someone who has the same vehicle but without the security features. Where you leave it overnight is also key, as vehicles are more at risk when parked on the side of the road. If you have access to a locked garage, then storing it there will significantly reduce your premiums.

Reduce your mileage. When you make your application for insurance, you’re asked to fill in how many miles you think you travel annually. Obviously, the more you drive the more likely you are to be involved in an accident and that is taken into account. However, if you can find any way of cutting how many miles you drive, this price will come down. For example, if you've got a five-mile drive to work, could you get public transport or cycle instead?

Sensible cars. While they might be our pride and joy, some cars by their very nature are expensive to insure. For example, a 2-litre turbo diesel is going to cost more to insure than a 1.2-litre petrol hatchback. If you’re finding that your insurance is just too high but you could be insured for significantly less on a more sensible car, put your sensible hat on and sell your existing model for that one – bringing in some valuable money and saving you more each year on insurance.

This article was written by Matt Rawlings, a UK-based writer specializing in providing financial advice.

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